So little miss started pre-school this week. I didn’t think I was nervous. I mean, I went back to work when she was 7 weeks old so I’m used to handing her off (granted, to her grandparents). And she is so completely independent I wasn’t worried about her separating. In fact I more or less planned to just drop her off the first day and run, until the pre-school orientation suggested that someone might want to stick around the first few…weeks? Er, what? Anyhow I figured someone had better plan to be available the first few days just in case. On Monday this fell to my mother and husband, and little miss did just fine, so I doubt I will even stick around tomorrow. But even though I was SURE that I was not nervous, I didn’t sleep at all Sunday night. And Monday night wasn’t much better so I am really tired and cranky now.
To avoid any complicated photo driven recipes today, I’m doing a quick list post. Everyone likes lists, right? And soon you can look forward to the much anticipated return of the home grown theme as our spaghetti squash are ready. Hooray!
So, without further ado, my top 5 vegan ingredients! Drumroll please.
5) Garbanzo beans – the humble chickpea has a slightly creamier flavor than most beans. Mash it with kelp granules for “tuna” salad or with nutritional yeast for “chicken” salad. Purée it into hummus (everyone’s favorite dip). However you prepare them, chickpeas are my favorite bean!
4) Coconut milk – nothing replaces cream quite like coconut milk. I love it as ice cream, whipped cream, and yogurt. It’s not a delicate flavor, though, so good thing I love the taste.
3) Chia seeds – these tiny seeds pack a big helping of calcium and omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients that can be hard to get on a vegan diet. Plus they are fun. Chia pudding? Chia energy drinks? Yes please! And they are great egg substitutes to add a little fiber to gluten free baked goods.
2) Cashews – because how else would I make vegan Alfredo sauce? I love making and eating cashew cheeses and extra love that they have healthy protein, unlike some other cheese substitutes.
1)Nutritional yeast – well, cashew cheese wouldn’t be cheesy without the nooch. A great source of protein and B vitamins, it provides the umami pop that many vegan recipes need to go from bland to fabulous! Is anyone surprised this is at the top of my list?
And bonus, some new faves I discovered just since the start of Vegan MoFo:
1) Ener-G egg replacer – what? I can make vegan beaten egg whites? Fantastic!
2) Coconut bacon – OK, not strictly an ingredient, but how did I live without this? I have it on good authority that it tastes nothing like bacon, but who cares? It’s delicious. Even my 2 year old likes it. I can eat it by the handful. Of course it is possible that liquid smoke might be the death of me.